LOWELL -- Dallas Younkman and Haley Bradley moved from Florida to Beech Street in Lowell on Monday. They arrived at 4:30 a.m., moved belongings in all day, and then took a break to go shopping Target in the afternoon.
They returned to the home they were renting at 112 Beech St., about 6:20 p.m., just after damaging thunderstorms moved through the area, and found a large tree that fell on the home.
The new home being rented by Younkman and Bradley was condemned by a city building inspector before they could even finish moving in.
"We had just put our stuff in there," Bradley said Monday evening.
Robert Jacobs, of Windham, the owner of the home Younkman and Bradley were renting, said the home was condemned due to structural damage caused when the tree toppled onto its roof.
Jacobs, who is a builder in addition to a landlord, said he agreed with the assessment of a building inspector who said the house would have to be demolished.
Jacobs said the side of the home struck by the tree had dropped down, and walls inside were warped, causing dry wall to break. Windowsills had visibly changed angles, as well.
Younkman and Bradley took the news in stride, and said they're lucky to have friends who already live in Lowell where they will stay while they search for a new place to live.
Less than a mile away, firefighters battled a one-alarm fire in the basement of a home at 47 Lilly Ave., and Deputy Chief Mike Donnelly said it appears the cause may have been a lightning strike.
It appears the lightning strike caused an electrical panel in the basement to spark the fire, which firefighters managed to contain to the home's basement.
Power to the building had to be cut, but it was not immediately clear how many residents were displaced.
One resident was taken to the hospital for evaluation after she remained inside her second-floor apartment after he daughter fled the fire.
"She still didn't want to leave, but the guys convinced her it was in her best interest to get out," Donnelly said.
The woman was conscious and alert as she left the home with help from firefighters.
Other towns reported downed trees and power lines, but no injuries or significant damage to buildings.
Chelmsford police said several buildings were hit by falling trees in South Chelmsford, but that no structural damage was reported.
Areas around Proctor Road, Park Road and Donna Road in Chelmsford suffered the worst damage.
There was a power outage in that area as well, with National Grid reporting 821 customers without power in Chelmsford as of Monday at 10 p.m.
Westford was also hit hard, with National Grid reporting 1,429 customers without power there as of 10 p.m.
Police reported down trees and wires had forced officers to close portions of Beaver Brook Road and Hildreth Street.
National Grid reported 1,079 customers without power in Lowell's Pawtucketville neighborhood just after the storm, but that number had been reduced to 413 customers as of 10 p.m.
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